COVID-19: 'Surge testing' to be rolled out in Manchester after Kent variant detected

·1-min read

Thousands of people around Manchester are to be "surge tested" for coronavirus after the more transmissible Kent variant was detected there.

Some 10,000 extra tests will be rolled out from Tuesday, after four people from two unconnected households were found to be infected with the mutated strain of coronavirus, Manchester City Council said.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed the postcode areas targeted for additional testing are: M14 4, M14 7, M15 5, M15 6, M16 7 and M16 8.

What you need to do if you live in a surge testing area

A spokesperson said the surge testing would be "in addition to existing extensive testing".

The statement added: "In combination with following the lockdown rules and remembering hands-face-space, this will help to monitor and suppress the spread of the virus.

"Positive cases will be sequenced for genomic data to help understand COVID-19 variants and their spread within these areas.

"People living in this targeted area within these locations are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test this week, whether they are showing symptoms or not. People with symptoms should book a test in the usual way."

Surge testing has been used in other areas of the country that have recorded raised levels of new variants including London, Woking and Worcestershire.

Residents in the targeted areas will receive delivery of a testing kit - there will be no need to book a test or travel to a testing site.

The kit contains a box which in which completed tests can be placed in ready for collection door-to-door.

Over three nights Sky News will host a series of special programmes examining the UK's response to the pandemic.

Watch COVID Crisis: Learning the Lessons at 8pm on 9, 10 and 11 February.